The New Jim Crow : Mass Incarceration Essay

The New Jim Crow : Mass Incarceration Essay

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In today’s society we would like to think that racism is a thing of the past, but how far have we really come as a country to completely end racism altogether? It has been 150 years since Congress voted and ratified the 13th Amendment to abolish slavery, yet there has been several systems put into place since, to establish and continue a racial caste system in the United States. Even though African Americans made progress in their crusade to have equal rights as their white counterparts, these systems that were put into place were designed to counter act any breakthroughs that were made. These systems came in different forms like the black codes, Jim Crow laws and now mass incarceration. In Michelle Alexander’s book, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, she quotes and elaborates on a statement made by Reva Siegel stating: “This dynamic, which legal scholar Reva Siegel has dubbed, ‘preservation through transformation,’ is the process through which white privilege is maintained, through the rules and rhetoric change”(21). While most Americans see our country as being racially integrated and believe that our society has moved past racial oppression, the facts prove that even today our country has a long way to go to completely achieve a society that is truly colorblind.

The first Africans were first brought to America to the colony of Jamestown, Virginia in 1619. It was then when the idea of race came about as a means to restore the practice of chattel slavery. It was once stated by a sociologist Loic Wacuquant that: “Racial division was a consequence, not a precondition of slavery, but once it was instituted it became detached from its initial function and acquired a social potenc...


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...and become considered equal in our society. The Civil Rights movement and affirmative action were tools used by African Americans to try and break the chains that bound them inferior to whites. Yes these movements were successful in some way but the whole time these breakthroughs were being made the white conservatives were plotting to use the law to restrict further advancement of blacks and to keep the racial caste system intact. The Mass Incarceration era is upon us now and indirectly targets African Americans, but how do we get past this if we truly want to achieve equality? I say we have plenty more work to do if our society is to become genuinely colorblind and treat everyone as individuals, instead of seeing color. Although so much has happened since the end of slavery as a country we still have a long way to go to achieve a society of true colorblindness.

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The New Jim Crow : Mass Incarceration Essay

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